Seattle police chief nominee answers questions by public



Posted on June 11, 2014 at 7:42 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 12 at 12:44 PM

SEATTLE -- The final steps in confirming Seattle's new police chief were underway Wednesday night.

Kathleen O'Toole was in South Seattle to field questions from the public and some committee members on issues that affect Seattle: public safety, civil rights and technology.

A woman who lives near Pike Place Market was at the public hearing. She wanted to know more on how the new chief would handle something that hits especially close to home for her.

"When I take my dog for a walk, you'll see drug deals going down," said Katelyn Scott, downtown resident. "I know which sides of the streets to avoid. I've been verbally harassed as I've been walking on the street."

A South Seattle resident was at the meeting to discuss his concerns about recent violence.

"There was that incident two weeks ago. Somebody got stabbed and left in a cart," said Abdi Hussein. "It made me feel scared. It made me feel like I couldn't leave the house."

A police leader needs to get out into neighborhoods and really listen to people, according to O'Toole.

"It is a team effort. We need to harness our resources, and I think people recognize that," she said.

She added that if she becomes chief, her command staff would be a "combination of insiders and outsiders."

O'Toole listening to the public's concerns is just one part of the final process. Another public meeting is scheduled for Thursday. One June 23, the Seattle City Council is set to vote on whether O'Toole will be confirmed as Seattle's new police chief.